Learn Japanese from Anime

Are you passionate about anime? Then you will be pleased to know that you can learn and improve Japanese by watching anime. Let’s see how.

Which Anime to look at?

Any anime is fine, although I recommend starting with a slice of life, especially if you don’t have a great knowledge of Japanese. This kind of anime makes use of every day and not too specialized terms, for this, I find them excellent to start, like those listed in my previous post.

If you are not satisfied with the titles, try looking for some works on sites like My Anime List.

Another idea is to watch anime that you have already seen in your language (if you want to relate the same thing!) You already know the story so you can easily concentrate on listening without worrying about following the story. That’s because it’s better…

Of course, to understand any anime/manga, in addition to knowing a certain number of words, it is necessary to have at least a knowledge of JLPT N4 level grammar.

Eliminate Foreign (or English) subtitles

I know, I realize that it is difficult to follow this rule, I myself have the temptation to activate them with Korean (and every now and then I do it, unfortunately …)

Watching an anime with subtitles may seem more useful because you can understand the anime and while you pay attention to the audio, in reality, it is not so. If you watch a subtitled anime you will almost certainly focus more on subtitles than on dialogues. Just as romajis distract kana reading, subtitles distract from listening.

Even if you understand only 10% without subtitles try it anyway and who knows, in reality, you could understand more than you think!

It must be said that it is difficult to understand dialogues if you do not have a good knowledge of grammar and informal language.

Help yourself with language subtitles

I just said to delete the subtitles but this does not mean that you have to give it up completely. That’s right because you can practice with Japanese subtitles.

It is the best way to solve several problems: 1) lack of words, excellent for learning new words both by reading and listening to them; 2) speed up reading (it takes some time to get used to reading them quickly!); 3) exercise listening without being afraid to understand anything.

You can find them in the original language by searching on Google, or more simply on kitsunekko. If you need to synchronize the subtitles use the Aegisub program.

Don’t always rely on subtitles. It’s okay both at the beginning and if you look at something particularly difficult, if you can understand almost everything and you miss a few words it’s not a big problem, better disable them.

Take notes of the words/grammar you are interested in

While watching some anime, keep a dictionary and something to take notes on hand (be it Evernote or a simple blocknotes, anything is fine). Is there any word you hear often? Check the meaning and mark it if you want to remember it in the future.

You can also create Anki decks with your favorite souls and review all the beats of the anime day by day with subs2srs.

I didn’t find Japanese subtitles and I don’t understand anything. What to do?

Enjoy the anime and what happens only from the pictures. Have fun anyway and get your ear. Can you clearly distinguish a few words but don’t know what it means? Look for it in the dictionary and see if it has anything to do with the context of the dialogue.

You insist on looking at souls even if you struggle to understand them. You may not see progress over the course of days, but gradually you will improve your understanding. You could also extract the audio of the various episodes and do some passive lxistening.

Pay attention to how the characters speak

Observe the characters how they interact with each other, how they use formality or not, notice if they use slang or if they omit the particles. It is a good exercise to understand how speech works.

Japanese is not made up of souls only, so try to devote yourself to other material and not always take an example from the way you talk about anime. If you’re a boy, you don’t want to finish talking like a girl, do you?

There are teachers who advise against looking at anime because of the not really formal language, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with looking at them. I have learned a lot from souls: words, informal everyday expressions that you can’t find in books, pronunciation. Not for this, I have transformed my language into that of a cartoon. Any material addressed to Japanese native speakers is perfect for practicing since grammar and vocabulary are the same as in real life. Also, keep in mind that many dramas derive from manga, so you should avoid watching dramas too?

Souls exaggerate a lot with stereotypes , perhaps this is the beauty: understanding the different ways of speaking of each character. Souls are perfect for practicing listening and having fun, the only recommendation I make is to pay a little attention and not to imitate them word for word. Although it must be said that often the sentences of the souls are much more realistic than those of the books of grammar!

The Japanese in Anime & Manga site can be useful for you to discover the different types of language found in anime and manga. Of course, this site alone is not enough to learn a good base of Japanese, but it can be fun to learn some expressions and new vocabulary.

And you learn Japanese from anime? Share your strategies in the comments!

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